Cotton grass planting

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Latest update 31.05.2013 17:53

A huge milestone was reached in late 2010 as part of the large-scale restoration of the peat bog on Kinder Scout. The 300,000th common cotton grass plant was rooted into some of the bare eroding peat over 2,000 feet up in the Peak District near to Crowden Head. As of May 2013 a further 300,000 cotton grass plants are on Kinder bringing the grand total to 600,000.

This summer another 160,000 will be planted by staff, contractors and volunteers as part of the Kinder Catchment Project with funding from the water company United Utilities and Natural England. It is difficult to involve large or ad hoc groups in the planting due to the long walk out and the potential for doing more damage with all the foot fall.

This plant has special attributes which stabilise the friable peat surface allowing other species including its cousin hares' tail cotton grass to colonise naturally. Each single plant introduced as a small "plug" sends out runners into the surrounding peat in the same way marram grass does in coastal sand dunes.

It’s not just cotton grass either; other plants include bilberry, cloudberry, crowberry cross and leafed heather. Future planting plans involve introducing Sphagnum mosses, the bog-building plants.